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Richard Arthur Wollheim (5 May, 1923 – 4 November, 2003) was a British philosopher noted for original work on mind and emotions, especially as related to the visual arts, specifically, painting. Wollheim served as the president of the British Society of Aesthetics from 1992 onwards until his death in 2003.

Son of an actress and a theatre impresario, Richard Wollheim attended Westminster School, London, and Balliol College, Oxford (1941-2, 1945-8), interrupted by active military service in World War II.[1] In 1949 he obtained a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and began teaching at University College London, where he became Grote Professor of Mind and Logic and Department Head from 1963 to 1982. He was visiting professor at Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Minnesota, Graduate Center, CUNY, the University of California-Berkeley, UC Davis and elsewhere. He chaired the Department at UC Berkeley, 1998-2002. On retirement from Berkeley, he served briefly as a guest lecturer at Balliol College. Wollheim gave several distinguished lecture series, most notably the Andrew M. Mellon lectures in Fine Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1984), published as Painting as an Art.

Besides his philosophical research and teaching on art, Wollheim was well-known for his philosophical treatments of depth psychology,[2] notably Sigmund Freud. Art and its Objects was one of the twentieth century's most influential texts on philosophical aesthetics. In a 1965 essay, 'Minimal Art', he seems to have coined the meme term 'minimal', although the meaning of the word drifted from his. In his well-received,[3] posthumously-published autobiography of youth, Germs: A Memoir of Childhood, complemented by a few essays, Wollheim provides much information about his family background and his life, into early manhood, and understanding of the roots of his interests and sensibility.



For an extensive bibliography of Richard Wollheim's publications by a professional bibliographer, see Eddie Yeghiayan's UC-Irvine site [4]. See also the 'Philweb' listing [5].

Note: given his unique mind, personality, and distinctive writing styles, along with his curiosity and sociability, many of Richard Wollheim' publications are not captured by academic categories. Besides books, he published many articles, in journals and edited collections, book reviews, and gallery catalogues for shows. Inquiries into his mss, letters and recordings of his talks might be begun.


Books and separately published works

  • F. H. Bradley. Harmondsworth; Baltimore: Penguin, 1959. 2d edition, 1969.
  • 'Socialism and Culture'. Fabian Tract, 331. London: Fabian Society, 1961.
  • 'On Drawing an Object'. London: University College, 1965 (long essay). Repr. in On Art and the Mind.
  • Art and Its Objects: An Introduction to Aesthetics. NYC: Harper & Row, 1968. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1970. Harper Torchbook, 1971.
  • Art and its Objects: With Six Supplementary Essays. 2d edition. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980.
  • A Family Romance. London: Jonathan Cape, 1969. NYC: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1969 (novel).
  • Freud. London: Fontana, 1971. Paperback, 1973. American and later Cambridge University Press (1981) edns titled Sigmund Freud.
  • On Art and the Mind: Essays and Lectures. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,1972.
  • 'The Good Self and the Bad Self: The Moral Psychology of British Idealism and the English School of Psychoanalysis Compared' (1975)—repr. in The Mind and Its Depths.
  • 'The Sheep and the Ceremony' (1976)—repr. in The Mind and Its Depths.
  • The Thread of Life. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984.
  • Painting as an Art. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987.
  • The Mind and Its Depths. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993 (essays).
  • On the Emotions. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999.
  • Germs: A Memoir of Childhood. London: Waywiser Press, 2004.

Edited books

  • The Image in Form: Selected Writings of Adrian Stokes (1974)
  • Freud: A Collection of Critical Essays (1974)
  • Philosophical Essays on Freud, with James Hopkins. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
  • R.B.Kitaj : A Retrospective, with Richard Morphet. London: Tate Publishing, 1994.

Some main articles

  • “Nelson Goodman’s Languages of Art”, The Journal of Philosophy: 62, no. 16 (Ag. 1970): 531.
  • “Adrian Stokes, critic, painter, poet”. Times Literary Supplement (Feb. 17 1978): 207-209.
  • "Minimal Art", Arts Magazine (January 1965): 26-32. Repr. in On Art and the Mind.
  • "A Bed out of Leaves", London Review of Books 25, no. 23 (4 December 2003). [2]


  1. ^ For his own account of his service in Europe during the war, see Wollheim, "Fifty Years On", London Review of Books 23 (23 Je 1994): 3-6.
  2. ^ Wollheim was Ernest Jones Lecturer, Institute of Psychoanalysis, London, in 1968.
  3. ^ For excerpts from eighteen reviews, see [1]
  4. ^ Richard Wollheim Bibliography
  5. ^ Richard Wollheim

External links


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